In 19th century Scotland was a leading center of anatomical research, lending to a high demand for cadavers. Due to new strict Scottish laws cadavers were not easy to come by, not even for the medical community.
Body snatching grew in popularity, with so called “resurrectionists” selling bodies of the recently deceased to prominent medical schools in the country, putting the cities cemeteries under strict lock down. William Burke and William Hare came up with an obvious solution, murder. The duo became infamous for killing and selling corpses to anatomist Doctor Robert Knox for dissection.
On this day Burke and Hare took their first victim, a lodger in Hare’s house suffering from a serious illness. Possibly on her deathbed Burke advised that they kill her and sell the body to Knox for a sum of £7. The duo smothered lodger leading the men to go on a murder spree committing 16 murders in 10 months.
They were eventually caught after other lodgers noticed the duo’s strange habits and informed the police.